Week 15 Sit-Start - Playoffs

Wednesday, Dec 15, 2021 at 1:48 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 15 of the 2021 NFL season. Analysis is aggregated from multiple sources including FN. Rankings are based upon PPR (point per reception) scoring. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Alvin Kamara, Travis Kelce, or Davante Adams. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Good luck in the first round of the playoffs!

Start 'em Jalen Hurts (PHI, QB)
Nobody is allowing more passing touchdowns and more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Washington Football Team. Two recent mobile QBs (Cam Newton/Week 11, Russell Wilson/Week 12) averaged 22.8 fantasy points against them. Hurts is supposed to be "100% healthy" from his ankle injury, so a healthy Hurts along with a phenomenal matchup makes him a must-start.
Most pts to QB
Start 'em Taysom Hill (NO, QB)
Taysom Hill cracks our Top 12 this week after posting back-to-back 20+ point fantasy days. The Bucs have been very generous to opposing quarterbacks including a wild 35 point day from Josh Allen last week. What Hill lacks in passing finesse, he more than makes up with his feet. That's good considering that Tampa Bay has allowed the 6th-most rushing yards to opposing QBs.
5th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em James Conner (ARI, RB)
There are only a few things guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and a touchdown from James Conner. With 16 touchdowns on the season (14 rushing/2 receiving), Conner has emerged as one of the guys who led you to the playoffs. Chase Edmonds is expected back this week, but the matchup alone warrants high-end RB2/Flex consideration. The Lions give up the 4th-most fantasy points, and assuming that his ankle issue doesn't sideline him, Conner could very well find himself in the endzone once again.
4th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Antonio Gibson (WAS, RB)
After a seriously disappointing game last week (just 4.1 fantasy points), we are anticipating a nice bounce back game for Antonio Gibson. The matchup is positive (Philly gives up the 10th-most fantasy points) and the game flow should play in Gibson's favor. The Eagles rank in the bottom half of most rushing yards allowed per game.
10th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Sony Michel (LAR, RB)
Ranked 22nd this week is Sony Michel who has filled in fantastically for Darrell Henderson. We're assuming that Henderson will play this week, so the touches for Michel should be reduced, but the matchup makes him worthy of RB2/Flex status. The last time Michel faced the Seahawks back in Week 5, he put up 11.5 points. Double-digits isn't hard to imagine here.
2nd Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Hunter Renfrow (LV, WR)
Make no mistake - this is going to be a tough matchup, but there's no arguing the role that Hunter Renfrow has on this team. He's been one of the few positive things about the Raiders lately seeing a career-high number of targets and catches. He's gone over the century mark in each of his last three games, and the Browns have been susceptible all year to short-yardage receivers. Volume will keep Renfrow in fantasy lineups this week.
10th Fewest Pts to WR
Start 'em Tyler Lockett (SEA, WR)
He may not be the most consistent player on a week-to-week basis, but Tyler Lockett is peaking at just the right time for fantasy. His rapport with Russell Wilson is evident as Wilson trusts him to make the big plays. We can build upon that - especially against a Rams defense that ranks in the Top 10 in points allowed to opposing receivers. Lockett should be a high-end WR2 in this one.
9th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Brandon Aiyuk (SF, WR)
Ranked 25th this week is Brandon Aiyuk fresh off a season-high 11 targets - and that was with Deebo Samuel back. There should be plenty of points to go around in this one as the Falcons give up the 4th-most fantasy points to the WR position this season. Aiyuk has been fairly consistent over the last month seeing at least six targets in each of those games.
4th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Mike Gesicki (MIA, TE)
Mike Gesicki saw 11 targets last week against the Giants and delivered double-digit fantasy points. Tua obviously likes him so we expect the opportunities to be there. The matchup is fantastic as the Jets have surrendered the 6th-most fantasy points to TEs this season. Gesicki is ranked inside our Top 10 making him a strong TE1 against the Jets.
6th Most Pts to TE
Start 'em Dawson Knox (BUF, TE)
With three touchdowns and 28 targets over his last four games, Dawson Knox comes into our weekly rankings at #10 facing a Carolina defense that has been fairly stout against tight ends this season. His floor is relatively safe (great for the first round of the playoffs), but his ceiling is what makes him an attractive option this week.
12th Fewest Pts to TE
Start 'em Miami Dolphins (MIA, DEF)
The Miami defense has been very solid prior to their bye week consistently delivering exceptional, double-digit production. We like the odds of that happening again this week against a Jets defense that has given up the 6th-most fantasy points to D/ST.
6th Most Pts to DEF
Start 'em Matt Prater (ARI, K)
This is a fantastic matchup for Matt Prater and the Cardinals. With Kyler Murray back healthy and effective, Arizona should have no trouble moving the ball. Detroit has given up the 2nd-most fantasy points to kickers on the year including double-digits in four of their last six games.
2nd Most Pts to K
Sit 'em Joe Burrow (CIN, QB)
Over his last five games, Joe Burrow has thrown just as many picks as he has touchdowns. The matchup this week is a tough one. Denver has only allowed two quarterbacks to go over 20 fantasy points and has largely kept opposing signal callers in check - including allowing just 11 points to Jared Goff last week and just 12 points to Patrick Mahomes the week prior. Burrow should only be started in Superflex leagues.
3rd Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Derek Carr (LV, QB)
We're lowering our expectations for Derek Carr this Saturday. Over the last month, he's averaged just 0.75 touchdowns per game and .50 interceptions. Renfrow has been a fantasy stud, but Carr (averaging just 13 points) most certainly has not. The Browns have been stout against quarterbacks surrendering the seventh-fewest yards through the air.
13th Most Pts to QB
Sit 'em Chuba Hubbard (CAR, RB)
Chuba Hubbard has scored 9 points or less over his past five games. This week he'll face a Buffalo defense that, on paper, should be fairly tough. The Bills can be scorched though as evidenced by the 23 points from Leonard Fournette, 17 points from Damien Harris, and 53 points from Jonathan Taylor. Unfortunately, Hubbard is not in the same tier as those players. He has seen just one target (no catches) over the last month and has averaged a pedestrian 3.1 yards per carry. Hubbard is nothing more than a low-end flex play.
14th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Mike Davis (ATL, RB)
Just when everyone had written him off, Mike Davis turned in back-to-back weeks of double-digit production (avg 15.2 points). Could he do the same against the Niners? As Lloyd Christmas famously said, "so you're saying there's a chance". A chance - yes. Likely - no. Davis is wholly dependent on the game flow, and it's hard to imagine the Falcons running up a lead on the Niners. Patterson continues to be the only back to own in Atlanta.
14th Most Pts to RB
Sit 'em AJ Dillon (GB, RB)
The Quadfather lands in our weekly rankings at #24. This might be a tad generous given that Aaron Jones is back. Last week, Dillon led the backfield in snaps and touches, but he wasn't targeted even once in the passing game. It was Aaron Jones who got the trip to the endzone. Let's not forget that the matchup is tough for both Dillon and Jones as they head to Baltimore. While we wouldn't feel good going into this one with Dillon as our RB2, he should still see enough work to be considered a flex option.
5th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Julio Jones (TEN, WR)
Julio Jones returned to action last week and was the most-targeted receiver for the Titans. Sadly that didn't translate to fantasy production as he caught 4 balls for just 33 yards. We hope his usage will increase, but even in a plus matchup, he remains a risky play.
10th Most Pts to WR
Sit 'em Gabriel Davis (BUF, WR)
The fantasy darling over the last two weeks has got to be Gabriel Davis who found the endzone in each of those contests. With Emmanuel Sanders unlikely to suit up, Davis should continue to see his usage in this offense increase, but we wouldn't rush him into lineups - not even as a flex option. Carolina has given up the 4th-fewest fantasy points making it difficult to trust his production abilities in the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
4th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em Kenny Golladay (NYG, WR)
Fantasy owners rejoiced when Freddie Kitchens publicly stated that he was intent on getting more player input including getting Golladay more opportunities. He saw eight targets last week but only managed to haul in two of them for a disappointing 15 yards. Golladay hasn't surpassed more than 6 fantasy points since Week 4. That kind of uncertainty and low floor presents a serious risk to fantasy owners who need a win this week.
13th Most Pts to WR
Sit 'em Cole Kmet (CHI, TE)
Cole Kmet remains a heavily-involved member of this offense seeing 23 targets over the last three weeks. Unfortunately, that hasn't always meant fantasy production as he's averaged single-digits over that time. The Vikings have largely kept tight ends in check this season ranking inside the Top 10 in fewest points allowed.
9th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Ricky Seals-Jones (WAS, TE)
With Logan Thomas lost for the season, it should have been time for Ricky Seals-Jones to emerge as a fantasy option. That didn't happen as he managed just one catch on four targets. Even in a plus matchup (nobody gives up more points to TEs than the Eagles), the role and efficacy of Ricky Seals-Jones makes him difficult to trust.
Most pts to TE
Sit 'em Chicago Bears (CHI, DEF)
Getting defensive touchdowns helped the Bears salvage what would have been a truly awful fantasy day on Sunday night, but we can't count on that happening again this week. Minnesota's offense has largely been very effective and opposing defenses have struggled to keep them in check. Chicago will be no exception.
6th Fewest Pts to DEF
Sit 'em Mike Badgley (IND, K)
Mike Badgley has done a fantastic job filling in for Rodrigo Blankenship. He's averaged 9 fantasy points over his last four games and has earned an "A" in our consistency scores. Still, he'll be tested this week against a Patriots defense that simply doesn't let points go up on the board. No team gives up fewer fantasy points to kickers than New England.
Feweset Pts to K

Join the Discussion

RogueRaider CommentedDec 15, 2021 3:37 pm

Must win first round of playoffs, need flex: Gallup, Gordon, Jeudy, or DeVonta Smith, PPR?

Nerd CommentedDec 15, 2021 7:37 pm

It's Melvin Gordon for me.
Good luck!

jamisdiablo CommentedDec 16, 2021 1:32 pm

Gordon, with DSmith a close 2nd...

RogueRaider CommentedDec 16, 2021 10:05 am


Blue Duece CommentedDec 16, 2021 11:24 am

Flex 1point PPR
M Pittman, J Jeudy, A St Brown, T Pollard

jamisdiablo CommentedDec 16, 2021 1:33 pm

Pittman for me here, unless Zeke is sitting for some reason...

Nerd CommentedDec 16, 2021 4:28 pm

Agreed. Pittman unless Zeke is out (which doesn't seem likely - he's going to play with the brace on).

Alabama CommentedDec 16, 2021 3:01 pm

Jimmy G or Justin Fields

Nerd CommentedDec 16, 2021 4:29 pm

Jimmy G for the win!

flipdunk CommentedDec 17, 2021 1:51 pm

so i squeak into last playoff spot with my TE's as hockenson and hooper.....ouch. waiver wire not so good. njoku,kmet,uzomah,oshaugnessy,b.jordan,engram,and moreau. who would u go with??? thanks

Nerd CommentedDec 17, 2021 4:13 pm

For me, it's probably Cole Cmet followed by David Njoku.
Ugh...good luck with this!

Drew Shoemaker CommentedDec 17, 2021 7:58 pm

Do we trust James Robinson for a flex spot now with Urban gone? If not so I trust Amon-Ra St. Brown or R. Stevenson at flex? Thanks!

Drew Shoemaker CommentedDec 17, 2021 7:58 pm

Full PPR!

Nerd CommentedDec 17, 2021 9:16 pm

Yes, I am. If Bevell is to be believed, Robinson should have lots of work in a great fantasy matchup.

TOBY VILLANUEVA CommentedDec 17, 2021 9:07 pm

D.Montgomery, J.Robinson or C. Patterson...standard league...pick 1

Nerd CommentedDec 17, 2021 9:18 pm

It's Patterson for me. Good luck!

deibs81 CommentedDec 19, 2021 10:02 am

Full PPR. James Conner or Javonte Williams at RB. Tee Higgins or Christian Kirk at WR. Leaning toward Conner/Higgins today. Thanks!

Nerd CommentedDec 19, 2021 10:04 am

Leaning the same way. Good luck!

RaiderLuv4LIFE CommentedDec 19, 2021 10:59 am

Morning! Need two, Gibson, Carter, Michel?

Nerd CommentedDec 19, 2021 11:17 am

Gibson and Michel (assuming Henderson does not play). Love Michael Carter but not sure what he's going to look like in his first game back so playing it safe there. Good luck!

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